Double Down on Beer, Wine & Spirits

As lodge and ranch operators in experiential travel work to optimize total revenue, many are making a bet at the bar and doubling down on beer, wine & spirits. After all, except for the purchase of alcohol, many of their packages are “inclusive”, so avenues for generating additional profits above the base package price are limited; and unless the operation has a spa or gift shop, oftentimes the bar is the only option for doing more business.

The good news is that guests on vacation are only too happy to spend a little more on craft cocktails and/or a nice bottle of wine. Whether a business invests a lot, or a little, in beer, wine, and spirits, smart operators can expect a healthy return.

What’s more, for all of the guest touchpoints hospitality managers oversee, the work and creativity that goes into curating a fine beer, wine, and spirits program can be some of the most professionally rewarding.  If your property is looking to upgrade and enhance your beer, wine, & spirits programs consider these notions:

A Welcome Toast

When guests arrive at your property, it is a moment to be celebrated. It is also an opportunity to set the tone and offer a welcome toast in the lodge or leave a choice bottle of wine in their room. Show your appreciation right off the bat, and your guests will readily fall into a deeper groove of their vacation. The little bit of expense associated with buying the first round will be more than made up as your guests continue to enjoy their stay and explore more of the amenities your property has to offer.

Treat Your Wine with Love and Care

Your wine list may be limited to a seasonal top 10, or it may run many pages deep. Whether your serving in an outfitter tent or the nicest saloon in the state, wine is special and needs to be treated as such. Teach your team about the wine and what you have available for your guests by the bottle, or by the glass. Give them the tools and accouterments to store, open, and properly serve the wine. Don’t be fooled, many of your guests are wine lovers and have collections of their own, and they are paying attention. If they see you care, they are much more likely to patronize your establishment, but if they detect “alcohol abuse”, such as bottles kept at the wrong temp and poorly corked, all of sudden the wine aficionados will be asking about b.y.o.b.

Take Flight

It could be single batch bourbons, local brews, or a few great vintages, but one of the best ways to allow guests to explore beer, wine & spirits is to offer a flight and serve up a tasting of beverages that share a particular theme, but each possessing its own unique characteristics. Small groups love the social interaction that ensues from trying them all and conversing about which ones they like best and why. Guests also appreciate the opportunity to sample a broader category with which they may not be familiar, and finding new favorites.

Cheers for Adventure

Outdoor activities should be all about a healthful, safe, and energizing experience, but never to the detriment of those who like to have a wee little nip on the trail :). Skiing has long laid claim to the culture of “Après”, but many operators have learned how to create an Après scene around any activity. Whether it is after a fish, hunt, paddle, ride, or trek, providing an unexpected moment for guests to raise a glass and say “Salud”, is a memorable enhancement to any adventure.

As with any business practice, all of the above should be geared towards profitability. Whether the costs are baked into an inclusive package on the front-end or billed to the folio à la carte, guests are very willing to pay for quality amenities and upgrades. Take pride in your added services, price it at a point your business will earn a profit, and provide your guests with a beer, wine, and spirits program they will appreciate and enjoy.

One last thing… always have some good champagne on hand and don’t ever run out.

Photo courtesy of @mikechilcoatphoto

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